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Gonzalo
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How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:49 pm

Hi All. I am a very adaptable person, I have a very good capacity to accept changes in my life and never been overwhelmed for a big change like changing my home to another city or country and things like that.
BUT, this year we are planning with my wife to have our first ( and probably only ) child, and I must recognize, sometimes when I think about It I feel a little terrified... maybe because the level of responsibility involved in protect and educate another human being is really a very different challenge compared with putting the furniture on a truck and moving some thousand of miles away     

Do you want to share some of your experiences with me please ??

Thanks !!

G.
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EasternSon
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:11 pm

I don't want to sugarcoat anything, nor do I want to scare you, but everything changes. The good thing is, you won't care in the least , because you have a child to love and cherish.

Your social life will dwindle, your relationship with your wife will be turned on its head, you'll lose sleep, your attitude toward your career will change, and your stress level may rise significantly.

Still, once you have this kid in your arms, it all seems worth it.

Speaking from experience - I got about four hours of sleep total last night because my (almost) 3 year old was in my bed with a bad cold, kicking me and my wife in the head all night while he tossed and turned. I didn't care at all, because having him sleep next to us and cuddle is a huge joy.

Children are a constant source of joy and entertainment. They make all the poop, vomit and sleeplessness worth it.

The good thing is you've already come to terms with the fact that you're there to protect and educate your child - so you're pretty far ahead of the curve.

But, being a Daddy is hard. Especially in the first couple of months. I found it very hard to connect with my son. He had a special bond with Mommy, and I felt like a pedestrian. Once he started interacting, at about 3 months or so, I was totally hooked.

Don't sweat it too much, dude. You're going to do fine.
"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac
 
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Gonzalo
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:47 pm

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 1):
Don't sweat it too much, dude. You're going to do fine.

Many thanks for your post, I really appreciate your words.

I think the hardest part for both ( but specially for the woman ) should be the pregnancy period and the first couple of months after the baby is in the house, and you are confirming that in some way.

G.
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rfields5421
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:13 pm

You will look back at times, and wish you had your old life back.

Then your child will smile, and it is all worthwile.

You will find out in that in life the whole purpose is to raise children.

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
I think about It I feel a little terrified...

Don't worry, you'll get over that feeling about the time you become a grandparent.

And then you get to go through the whole experience again, but know a lot more, and have a lot more fun.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
EasternSon
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:35 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 2):
first couple of months after the baby is in the house

Yes, this is going to be the hardest part for both you and your wife. This is the part where both of you will be focused on the baby, and trying to figure out schedules. You'll be without sleep, and not sure if you're doing the right thing at any point during the day.

To give some unsolicited advice:

While your wife is focusing on the baby, focus on her. Do whatever you can to make her life easier. Cooking, dishes, shopping, all that stuff. Inevitably, she'll do most of the work with the baby, as she is likely going to be breast feeding, which is hugely time consuming. Be ready to take the baby off her hands as soon as you arrive home from work, and let her rest in a quiet room for an hour or so while you tend to the baby. Encourage her to sleep when the baby is sleeping.

Establish a schedule for you and your wife. Make a deal that she does the morning routine, and you take care of everything at night. Or, you do the 11pm feeding while she sleeps, and she'll do the 1am feeding while you sleep. Alternate.

I can't tell you how important it will be to her that you carry your part of the load!
"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac
 
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Gonzalo
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:03 pm

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 4):
Do whatever you can to make her life easier.

Fortunately, I lived alone for several years ( from 20 y.o. to 29 y.o. ), and I learn to do basically everything, cook, iron, clean up, dishes, and all that stuff. In fact I'm still doing all that things until today, we don't have a nanny because we really don't need one. Other positive thing is the smooth and fluid communication we have with my wife, so I hope that will help to find out the best options for us.

Thanks for your advice !!



Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 3):
Then your child will smile, and it is all worthwile.

I'm sure you are totally right. Thanks for your input.

G.
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HAWK21M
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:08 pm

Responsibility takes over....
As a Dad thats always playing pranks & a bit mischevious....The kid at 4yrs onwards will be your best friend.

Priority towards the family & kids take over....Every program is based around them.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
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Tugger
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:40 pm

OK, here's my bit:

The most important part in the relationship that will unfold is the one between you and your wife. It is the core of the family and needs to stay healthy and capable. From that relationship flows the rest of the "family" relationship. If it is unhealthy, the family is unhealthy, if it is healthy the family can be healthy. With that said, no one is more important than your child(ren), they have to be the focus of both you and your wife. If both you and she are jointly caring for your child and both are thinking about what is best for him/her then things will be just fine. But your wife comes first (and if she is "normal", for her, her child will come first).

Confused? I'll clarify, no one more important than the child and it's well being, and for that the most important thing is to stay "good" in your relationship with your wife. You take care of her and she will take care of the child, and of course you need to take care of the child too, it must be your focus as well, do that and things will be fine.....   

And nothing is more rewarding than children. They are terrible and annoying and tiring and disruptive and wonderful and special and invigorating and will have a bond with you that is unbelievable.

Oh and the weirdest thing is when you become "Father", a "Dad". You know how you have that relationship with your own dad? Your "dad", no matter whether you love him or hate, that occupies that position in your life? Well you will suddenly become that! It is truly a wild sensation when you feel it. Now actually being a true father/dad is something that is earned everyday but that first time you look in the mirror and you see "Dad".... and you occupy "that spot" for the first time.... you'll understand when it happens.

Tugg
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casinterest
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 7):
And nothing is more rewarding than children. They are terrible and annoying and tiring and disruptive and wonderful and special and invigorating and will have a bond with you that is unbelievable.

Great post tugger.

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
maybe because the level of responsibility involved in protect and educate another human being is really a very different challenge compared with putting the furniture on a truck and moving some thousand of miles away

It's definately a different experience. 3 years ago, my wife and I found out about our first being on the way.
Now we have two.

Life is different. I don't go out much with my friends(once every 2-3 months if things work out), my wife and I do not get to go on dates as often as we did, and money is a bit tighter with more mouths to feed, and the diaper supply.

However children are amazing. They really do grow fast. I look at my 2 and half year old, and I have conversations with him.Not advanced ones, but still conversations. He runs and plays, and has a general basic understanding of the world(at least as he sees it). I still remember the first 3 months and how tired my wife and I were, How was this little pooping, crying, crazy sleeper, not going to drive me nuts. Then they start smiling and interacting. It is amazing to watch them make their changes which really happen daily. When I traveled for a week, I felt like I missed so much.

Enjoy the experience. It is truly one to savor. The fact that you are worried about it, is definately a good sign,
Where ever you go, there you are.
 
canoecarrier
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:17 pm

Quoting CASINTEREST (Reply 8):
How was this little pooping, crying, crazy sleeper, not going to drive me nuts. Then they start smiling and interacting. It is amazing to watch them make their changes which really happen daily. When I traveled for a week, I felt like I missed so much.

That's an important point. The first few months can be tough. You'll think all that kid does is eat, poop, sleep. But, as you said once they start to smile and laugh it's incredibly rewarding. My 13 month old is a laughing machine. It can be hilarious when they clap, point, grunt or shovel food into their mouths.

One thing you will miss once they get past 3 months..they aren't immobile anymore. I'm constantly trying to keep my kid out of mischief, when he was 2 months old he didn't move. I even used to lay him on a pillow on the kitchen counter when I'd do dishes. Now he climbs in the dishwasher.

As others have said, make some time for you and your wife as he/she gets older. We typically try and do a date night of some sort once a month. Overalll, our life has changed quite a bit, from how clean our house is now that toys daily get spread all over the place to the less time we spend socializing. We still get out though, we just bring him. That's another point, it seems like we started spending a lot less time with our single or kidless friends.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
EasternSon
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:03 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 9):
once they get past 3 months..they aren't immobile anymore

Yeah, the funny thing is, you're convinced it's so hard when they're young. Then they get older, and start walking and running and climbing - you realize how easy you had it when you could plunk them down on a blanket and go about your business.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 9):
We still get out though, we just bring him.

Ufortunately, that ended for us. Our little guy will be three in early April, and while we used to bring him places all the time, he has turned a corner and will not sit still long enough for a meal in a real restaurant. We can do pizza or something that is quick and easy, but not a sit-down, unless there's a lot of stuff to occupy him. Even with pizza, my wife and I divide our time evenly between eating and entertaining the boy.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 9):
a lot less time with our single or kidless friends

Ain't that the truth. When we do see them, I have to remind my wife not to talk about the kid all night. I remember what it was like when I was childless - I could really care less about other people's kids.
"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac
 
canoecarrier
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:30 pm

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 10):
Yeah, the funny thing is, you're convinced it's so hard when they're young. Then they get older, and start walking and running and climbing - you realize how easy you had it when you could plunk them down on a blanket and go about your business.

  

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 10):
Ufortunately, that ended for us. Our little guy will be three in early April, and while we used to bring him places all the time, he has turned a corner and will not sit still long enough for a meal in a real restaurant. We can do pizza or something that is quick and easy, but not a sit-down, unless there's a lot of stuff to occupy him. Even with pizza, my wife and I divide our time evenly between eating and entertaining the boy.

I should have been more specific. We don't take him out to "nice" restaurants. We do around once a week during college football or basketball season take him out to more of a game room/sports themed restaurant. There's usually 30 or more people with us and he's well occupied. But, no steakhouse for us and him for a while.


Quoting EasternSon (Reply 10):
Ain't that the truth. When we do see them, I have to remind my wife not to talk about the kid all night. I remember what it was like when I was childless - I could really care less about other people's kids.

It's amazing how hard that is to do, and how you realize after a while during that conversation with childless friends that there are other things to talk about other than your kids teeth, pre-school, or whether or not he's walking yet.

Something else I forgot to mention is we travel a lot less than we did before we had our kid. He's flown once since we had him and was a trooper but we bought him a seat. We used to go to a beach resort in Oregon or visit wine country in eastern Washington a couple times a year. We haven't done that since. You also become a slave to routines and plan your afternoon's around when he goes to sleep or when he eats. But, it is a rewarding experience.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
Kent350787
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:44 am

Not much I can add to the PPs - being a dad is brilliant, although a huge life change. My wife and I had been together for over 10 years when our eldest was born. The boys are now aged 4 and 8 and life is pretty good!

My only other tip is that sleep deprivation can have a huge impact, particularly if there are also other issues impacting (unexpected lack of wider family support, career woman coping with major change, etc.). When I got a call from a family support centre saying "on our asessment, your wife is suffering moderate to severe post natal depression", I think I responded "tell me something I don't know". I'd identified the signs, but convincing my wife that some outside help would be useful took a lot of care and support.

Anyway, a core issue was not enough sleep, and once our eldest was sleeping OK (with some outside help), life improved dramatically.

Anyway, that may be TMI, but just a flag for you. A nice dinner out has become a pizza joint or cheap Thai or Vietnamese place, at least until the kids are older. But there is so much joy in seeing the world through their eyes and sharing your life and your interests!
 
mirrodie
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:46 am

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 1):
you won't care in the least , because you have a child to love and cherish.

So true. As I type, my 5 ear old son and nearly 3 year old daughter are asleep. Here's one change...I don't care about going out as much, shooting pics of planes for instance....I cherish every moment I can with them, even if its hearing them breathe as they sleep.

They are in bed by 8 the latest and then the wife and I can have our own couple's time until midnight or so. WE are blessed with kids that sleep from about 730 to 730/8am.

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 1):
Your social life will dwindle,

Disagree. It changes. My college buddies and I still talk at least weekly and go out every few months. BUT, 10 years ago, the conversations were about where we were going to happy hour and now we talk schools and kid chat. Also, the social life changes according to your child. You will commingle with other parents more, make new contacts and friends all spurred by having kids.

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 1):
your relationship with your wife will be turned on its head, you'll lose sleep, your attitude toward your career will change, and your stress level may rise significantly.

I have to say, a good solid relationship sets a foundation. We are blessed in that we laugh every night and our children are the best entertainment. You just have to remember its part of life.


HOLY CRAP! And here's another pisser. Our daughter talks in her sleep! Just heard her say something in her sleep a second ago. Wild!

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 1):
I found it very hard to connect with my son. He had a special bond with Mommy, and I felt like a pedestrian.

True and truth is that bond will always be different. But I make sure my wife is tended to and she makes sure the kids are tended to.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 3):
You will find out in that in life the whole purpose is to raise children.

Right?!! And its awesome!!

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 4):
While your wife is focusing on the baby, focus on her. Do whatever you can to make her life easier.

Get her massages every so many months!

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 11):
Something else I forgot to mention is we travel a lot less than we did before we had our kid. He's flown once since we had him and was a trooper but we bought him a seat.

Somewhat true. We fly a lot less but mainly b/c travel is so arduous with the process. A 2 hour flight to Florida is a 4 hour block of time with carting the kids, the car seats and bags. Also, you take for granted that a few years ago, BC, your round trip tickets to SXM were 800 for the two of you. Now its 1600 for the 4 of you! But they are kids you say! Yep, but they are cash paying adults to the airlines  

Also, you learn that BC really means BEFORE CHILDREN.


Truth be told, I LOVED flying some year ago, but not so much these days. I do enjoy road trips now and ....you know whats a real great change...? YOu start to look at things again, if your mind is open, through your children's eyes. You take less for granted.


And if you're a good dad, which I sense you will be, you will think much less about yourself and more about the family unit.

Last week, I got a call from my wife. I was discussing a case with a patient and I had my staff put the call through. Now, a year ago, my wife would have freaked out with this conversation. But I picked up and she says, ever so calmly,
"Im at the doctors office, he's got a gash in his lip and they want him seeing a plastic surgeon. Thoughts?"

Me, in front of a patient without blinking, "Do it."

Had the same thing happened a year ago under my wife's watch, she'd be in a panic. The rest of the day, I kept calling into my wife, making sure SHE was OK and that SHE was eating. (I already knew he'd be fine! Was more concerned for her.) Anyway, just goes to shows to illustrate the points above in other posts:

Life will be different, but full of joy and unpredictable. Take care of your wife. Your social life will not dwindle but change.


And expect stitches at some point....
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canoecarrier
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:09 am

Quoting mirrodie (Reply 13):
Somewhat true. We fly a lot less but mainly b/c travel is so arduous with the process.

I think most parents (myself included) are afraid of the long trip with a child. When we went through security it took probably 5 times longer than it did BC. Hand search everything because a child seat won't go through the x-ray machine. Then you have breast milk that some fat TSA agent has to inspect, breast pumps, diaper bags, etc.. Just look at the Civ-Av threads about kids and you'll see how single/non-parent people feel about family travel.

No wonder most parents just give up and stay home or drive. Once he was on the plane having a seat for him was a lifesaver. Lots of FAs loving on him, put him in a child seat and put a blanket over him he was down for the count. Much better than having him on your lap.

Quoting Kent350787 (Reply 12):
My only other tip is that sleep deprivation can have a huge impact, particularly if there are also other issues impacting (unexpected lack of wider family support, career woman coping with major change, etc.). When I got a call from a family support centre saying "on our asessment, your wife is suffering moderate to severe post natal depression", I think I responded "tell me something I don't know". I'd identified the signs, but convincing my wife that some outside help would be useful took a lot of care and support.

Our son will turn 14 months on the 1st. His mom's birthday is today. Last year I started buying her a massage at a spa for her birthday to help out. Now that he's in pre-school she has a free day all to herself. I think we underestimate the amount of work women do with a kid, giving them a free day to pamper themselves makes a big deal. If you can, alternate free days or 3 hour blocks during the weekends so you don't do anything but lay around or do things for yourself.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
kiwiinoz
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:23 am

It's already been said but so long as you are prepared to be a good parent, it is probably one of the greatest things a human can experience.

There is no doubt that you make sacrifices, but that is the same with anything worthwhile

If you find yourself agonising over lost independance and freedom, etc, then it's possible you are not ready. Like many people, (myself included) you may need a couple more years of having a bit of fun as adults before you lock yourself into this responsibility. Thank goodness that we live long enough lives to experience it all!!

Our daughter is nearly 3 and we are all having so much fun as a family. There are some challenging times, but nothing worthwhile is easy all the time
 
sccutler
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:33 am

Some really fine remarks here. Being a father is supremely challenging at times, but the rewards are greater than I could presume to describe.

Even now, when my son is 16-almost-17.

Kids are a blessing.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:39 am

As a first-time father (our son was born February 3rd!) I'm finding myself - even with my limited experience thus far - nodding and smiling as I read the posts above. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world, and even with the sleeplessness, fatigue and added stress, it's all worth it when my son looks up at me during those o'-dark-thirty feedings and changings with those big blue eyes and tells me with just a look...that he loves me just as much as I love him.

And the suggestion about getting into a routine? Spot-on. My wife and I have a deal; when it comes to middle-of-the-night issues, I'm "on call" through 4am and she takes over for anything happening 4am and after. Works like a charm for us!
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PITingres
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:00 pm

The fact that you are worried about raising a child is a good sign. The really bad parents are too self-centered to notice, IMHO.

When I was 25, I was single; by the time I turned 29, I had 4 kids aged 10 to newborn.   You just deal with it, diapers then talking then school then the whole teenager thing. With reasonably good luck everyone comes out fine, even you!

I agree 100% with other posters that you need to keep your marriage in the forefront. When our kids were little, we used to hire a babysitter for a couple hours every week, whether we had money to go out or not! If "not" we would just go to the grocery store or something.

Two other items I'll add are a) kids are hard to break, don't panic over every little cut and b) it's not always your fault. We had one (out of four) who was just really hard, he got into deep trouble and is just now in his 30's deciding that he doesn't want to live like a bum. I asked him recently what we could have done differently and he said (honestly I think) "nothing". Don't be selfish, do the best you can, and it's likely that all will be well!

(and for when you're older: the whole grandparent thing is much, much nicer than I had imagined!)
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smittyone
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:10 pm

Only advice I could possibly add:

- Take a ton of video! The smallest things will be hilarious later. My daughter is 9 and gets a kick out of watching them.

- Be "Mr. Helpful" at all times. I was not nearly as useful as I should have been and it caused a lot of strife.
 
rfields5421
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:51 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 16):
Even now, when my son is 16-almost-17.

When they get that old, you have the experience of reliving all the mistakes of your youth, through your father's eyes.

(My son is 37, daughter 36, and I'm teaching a 15 year-old granddaughter to drive.)
Not all who wander are lost.
 
MarSciGuy
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:56 am

So I'm in a similar situation to the OP, except found out recently that our first is already on the way, however early it may be... (9 weeks tomorrow). I'm starting to put the effort in to help my wife but being a first year teacher with looong hours in the classroom has limited my effectiveness at that aspect to this point. Something to work on, fast!  
"There weren't a ton of gnats there where a ton of gnats and their families as well!"
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:04 am

Quoting SmittyOne (Reply 19):
- Take a ton of video!

And photos! And if you have a set of 100 digital shots and only want 20 of 'em, just buy all 100. You'll never regret paying the extra money 20 years from now.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
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Gonzalo
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:21 pm

Quoting MarSciGuy (Reply 21):
found out recently that our first is already on the way

CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!
     
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HAWK21M
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:18 pm

And get surprised when the kid says... "dad stop being mischevious & dont talk in church"  
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
gocaps16
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RE: How Much Changed Your Life After Having Kids?

Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:35 pm

Diaper changes, bathing the baby, holding the baby, playing with the baby, while my wife is breastfeeding the baby, I'll be doing the daily house routines and picking up all the messy wipes and diapers thrown around our house. Yup, my life has changed but it's worth it.

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Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos